Laldy (adverb): “To undertake an action with gusto or great enthusiasm.”
Fiddle player Rachel Evans and multi-instrumentalist Donald James combine forces for one mission: to play folk and gie i’ laldy. With Welsh and Scottish roots and a base in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, they are inspired by Celtic and Scandinavian music traditions as they wind their way across the seas.
Rachel was born in Wales and grew up in the unlikely Celtic enclave of Whangārei, where she became intrigued by the sound of Scottish fiddle as a teen. Constantly curious and committed to lifelong learning, she has explored Irish, Old-Time, Bluegrass and Scandinavian tunes and grooves through both New Zealand and international workshops, festivals and sessions. Rachel began her gigging career as a small child with her Mum’s circle dance band. Playing live music for dance is a theme that has woven through her contributions to Vic Folk ceilidh bands, as lively fiddle player for Wellington Old-Time band Barry and the Crumpets, and now, co-leading Laldy.
Donald originally hails from the rolling braes of the Scottish Borders and cut his songwriter’s teeth in the open mic scene of Edinburgh. Mentored and inspired by his multi-instrumentalist uncle, Donald spent his 20s lending his toe-tapping rhythm and grooves to friends’ bands, recording projects and playing for ceilidhs. An avid wanderer, he travelled the world with his guitar and mandolin before arriving in Aotearoa in 2013. Donald found his way into the Wellington folk scene through open mics, the Welsh Dragon Irish Sessions and as the cajon player for Barry and the Crumpets, where he and Rachel met.
Laldy brings to the stage a set which weaves together contemporary and traditional folk tunes and songs with original writing and arrangement. Playing a selection of sweet songs, modal grooves and trad bangers, Laldy are a fresh offering to the New Zealand folk and festival scene.